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Topic: How to make a trick your own
Message: Posted by: yku14 (Nov 21, 2009 07:34PM)
Hi everybody! This is my very first proper post on the Magic Café. I have recently become interested in card magic and, after reading up on tricks and such, was wondering how to take a trick and put your own personality into it.

For example would changing the given patter or rearranging the order of the moves work? Because it feels a little awkward to repeat the trick verbatim.

Message: Posted by: The Futurist (Nov 21, 2009 07:44PM)
Essentially, you not only can, but (IMHO and that of many others here, I feel) should change the patter to suit your style. Indeed, you may find great card tricks in the old books of the early 20th century, the patter is brilliant, but is not really how people tend to speak today. So you'd modernise it to speak to today's audience. Well, on the other hand, you might like the anachronistic quality if you are cultivating an "eccentric" performing persona. Even there you'd think about how you yourself might put things over.

Recent thread you might like: http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=339404&forum=41&5 which references this article: http://magicgizmo.com/home/Beginner-Area/magicians-be-what-fits-you.html

You might not have to change the order of the moves though. You'll no doubt find several card tricks in particular that really inspire you and coming up with your own patter will be no problem, because you are so enthused by the trick.
Message: Posted by: piraino (Nov 21, 2009 07:58PM)
Welcome yku14! One way to make a trick your own is to think about the phenomenon that the trick is demonstrating, and to come up with alternatives for it.

An example given by Henning Nelms is a Horoscope trick, where a group of spectators write their birthdays on individual sheets of notebook paper. The magician then randomly picks a sheet and does a horoscope reading for that birthday. The reading matches up surprisingly well with the individual whose birthday it is, despite the fact that the magician supposedly doesn't know who the birthday belongs to.

Nelms points out that you can use the exact same mechanics of the trick, but instead of an astrology demonstration you could demonstrate handwriting analysis, or do a personality reading based on doodles the specs have made, or a psychic reading of small personal objects wrapped in the sheets of notebook paper.

This can be applied to all sorts of tricks. For example, the ambitious card routine - is the card coming to the top because of your awesome card handling skills? Or is there a spirit bringing to the top? Is it some quantum physics sort of thing where the card is simultaneously in every spot in the deck, and the act of observing the top card makes its probability waveform collapse to that position?

In short, think of different explanations for the effect you are performing, and choose the one you find most interesting or most suitable to you or your audience.
Message: Posted by: Bob Sanders (Nov 21, 2009 08:43PM)

Welcome to The Magic Café.

Every good magician ultimately personalizes his magic. It does take some work but is also very natural. Go for it!

Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander
Message: Posted by: JamesTong (Nov 21, 2009 09:55PM)
Yku14, there's going to be a lot of trials and errors and changing of the patter scripts. That is a natural process. Keep testing your script on different audiences to see which one is the best. You will be happy when you end up with the ideal one.
Message: Posted by: The Amazing Noobini (Nov 22, 2009 03:20AM)
Some magicians who publish seem to get very insulted or angry if someone uses their patter. To some extent I find that mildly unreasonable in cases where the presentation is closely linked to the mechanical workings of the effect.

Some tricks I find it extremely difficult to invent new patter for, like Twisting The Aces. You could come up with a lot of ideas and sit for days at the keyboard writing like I have done. But in the end the original idea may seem like the best way to go.

Naturally you would want to add as much of yourself as possible, but I think it is difficult to sit down and change it all by rewriting. Slowly in time it will change as you perform it and new ideas will creep in, or so I imagine. But you have to start somewhere.

The fact that you find it awkward to repeat patter verbatim proves that you think independently! So I believe there is hope for you! :)
Message: Posted by: yku14 (Nov 23, 2009 12:10AM)
Thanks for the great advice everybody! It seems like altering the premise slightly will enable the use of different patter and such which may make the trick feel a bit less 'copied'. I will have to try out these methods when I get good enough to perform! :D
Message: Posted by: JamesTong (Nov 23, 2009 03:22AM)
It is your own presentation that makes the difference.
Message: Posted by: 55john55 (Nov 23, 2009 06:12AM)
I find it helpful to have someone (my wife) with whom I try changes. I'll alter some part of a trick or some patter and then do the effect both ways and see how it seems to a fresh pair of eyes & ears.